Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Toilet Paper, Then and Now


From the records of the Imperial Bureau of Supplies (Bao Chao Si), it was recorded that for Emperor Hongwu's imperial family alone, there were 15,000 sheets of special soft-fabric toilet paper made, and each sheet of toilet paper was even perfumed.
"Elsewhere, wealthy people used wool, lace or hemp for their ablutions, while less wealthy people used their hand when defecating into rivers, or cleaned themselves with various materials such as rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, maize, ferns, may apple plant husks, fruit skins, or seashells, and corn cobs, depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs. In Ancient Rome, a sponge on a stick was commonly used, and, after usage, placed back in a bucket of saltwater."
"The 16th century French satirical writer François Rabelais in his series of novels Gargantua and Pantagruel, discussing the various ways of cleansing oneself at the toilet, wrote that: "He who uses paper on his filthy bum, will always find his ballocks lined with scum", proposing that the soft feathers on the back of a live goose provide an optimum cleansing medium."
"In many parts of the world, especially where toilet paper or the necessary plumbing for disposal may be unavailable or unaffordable, toilet paper is not used. Cleansing is then performed with other methods or materials, such as water, for example using a bidet, rags, sand, leaves (including seaweed), corn cobs, animal furs, or sticks."

Photo Description:
Ancient toilet paper from the Nara period. The wooden sticks were found in small streams ca. 10-15 cm wide and designed to be squatted over, and are believed to be used for cleaning after the use of the toilet streams. The modern toilet paper rolls are for size comparison. Photo taken by Chris 73 in February 2004 in an exhibition hall in Nara.
Modern Toilet Paper: "Joseph Gayetty is widely credited with being the inventor of modern commercially available toilet paper in the United States. Gayetty's paper, first introduced in 1857, was available as late as the 1920s. Gayetty's Medicated Paper was sold in packages of flat sheets, watermarked with the inventor's name. for the product used the tagline "The greatest necessity of the age! Gayetty's medicated paper for the water-closet." As recently as 1935, Northern Tissue advertised the availability of splinter-free toilet paper." wikipedia
August 26 is "National Toilet Paper Day."
Well how do you celebrate this day? Well that's a bit limited but it seems teenagers are taking advantage of this holiday by "Rolling Yards (also called TPing). This little activity of sneaking to someones house and rolling the trees in the yard full of toilet paper is popular during Halloween but it seems that the kids now have a added date to roll once again. I have to admit this was a favorite thing to do even for myself, when I was a teenager :) It was sooooo much fun! But- - its legality is a matter of some debate.

The only other thing that people do on this day is send toilet paper themed Ecards and small fun gifts made from what else, toilet paper.

This brings to mind another holidays called Thomas Crapper Day - A holiday devoted to the man who invented the flush toilet.

14 comments:

Nathan said...

I've always wondered what was used years ago. Now I know to much!

~~louise~~ said...

Learning the history is yet another way and YOU have done a wonderful job at bounding up the history!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad there is a Now!

Tracy said...

Sticks!!!! OMG!

Ashley said...

Thanks you Joseph Gayetty for inventing toilet paper. Thank you Pam for a fun post.

Anonymous said...

Is that where the saying "Stick up the butt came from?"

Anonymous said...

Is there a holiday called crap day?

Gone-ta-pott said...

Ohhh I'm so glad you ask that question because there is a holiday called "Thomas Crapper Day"-

Now that you've reminded me of it I'll put a link to it at the bottom of my post- This holiday honors the man who invented the flush toilet-

Sandy said...

This was fun to read!

James said...

Reminds me of going hunting LOL

~~louise~~ said...

We've just "met," Pam.
Don't disappear now. Hope all is well, Louise

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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اكاديمية غزة التطويرية said...

very good

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